Ripple’s Legal Brawl With SEC Could Help Settle When Cryptocurrencies Are Securities

Feb 2, 2022

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

JLN Editor-in-Chief Sarah Rudolph will be on medical leave from Thursday, February 3 to February 28, or possibly longer, as she recovers from hip surgery. We hope this solves a lingering issue for Sarah that is unrelated to the surgery she had in 2021. To fill Sarah’s editing function at JLN in the interim, we have contracted with veteran Chicago business journalist and editor Sally Duros. Duros has worked for the Chicago Sun-Times and Crain’s, among other career stops. We have also contracted with former MarketsWiki Development Team member Laura Oatney to contribute to MarketsWiki, though her addition is unrelated to Sarah’s absence.

Unfortunately, this surgery and her recovery will knock Sarah out of returning to Boca for the FIA conference in March. We wish Sarah a successful surgery and swift recovery. We welcome Sally to the JLN team and thank her for pitching in to help during Sarah’s absence.

If you have an item you would like to get into the John Lothian Newsletter, please contact me, John Lothian, at johnlothian@johnlothian.com. If you have an item for the JLN Options Newsletter, please cc Jeff Bergstrom at jeffbergstrom@johnlothian.com.

It is good to be king. The CME Group was the king of the markets in January, with overall average daily volume (ADV) up 28 percent and equity index ADV up 56%, driven by record Micro E-mini Equity futures trading. CME also had record SOFR futures and options ADV and open interest (OI). Their volume for the month was 24.6 million contracts.

The Micro E-mini Equity Index futures ADV was 3,739,891 contracts and they also had ADV records in Micro E-mini Nasdaq-100 futures, Micro E-mini S&P 500 futures, Micro E-mini Dow Jones Industrial Average futures, E-mini Russell 2000 futures, and Nasdaq-100 futures. E-mini S&P 500 options increased 104% to 1.3M contracts.

The CME record SOFR futures open interest (OI) was 3,040,896 contracts on January 31, and ADV hit a record of 731,126 contracts, an increase of 253% and 645%, respectively, year-over-year. There was also record SOFR options OI of 204,279 contracts on January 31, and record ADV of 11,347 contracts. The press release for the CME’s monthly statistics is HERE.

And the CME is not standing still with their impressive records in micros. During the week of February 6 to 11, they are holding “The Biggest Micros Trading Challenge.” This is a risk-free trading competition with cash prizes to the winners. You can find out more details about the challenge, the requirements and the prizes HERE.

The LME is holding a half-day course on Wednesday, February 9, 2022 at 13:30 GMT titled “Introduction to LME Cash-Settled Futures.” The course costs £195 +VAT. For more details and to register, click HERE.

Just in case you are wondering, as a 2000 mile long mess of heavy snow (Winter Storm Landon) hits the U.S., what Groundhog Day is and what the meaning behind it is, the Wall Street Journal has your answer.

Former NFL and Purdue University quarterback Drew Brees has joined the parade of athletes getting paid in cryptocurrency. He will take part of his salary in bitcoin via NYDIG’s BTC Savings Plan. This actually gives credibility to the alternative currency in my mind, as Brees is not a shill for a company he is also invested in.

Marex announced it has acquired Arfinco S.A., one of Europe’s leading agricultural brokers. Arfinco is one of the largest brokers of exchange-traded European grains and covers US and Canadian markets.

Sam Belden has been promoted to account manager, head of content for Forefront Communications Group Inc.

Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL

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Opening the Kimono on Dialectic, the Family Office for Crypto’s Ultra-Rich
Matthew Leising – Decentiali.io
“I felt like getting rich was a ripoff. I expected somebody to show up one day and be like, ‘ok, Mr. Zurrer, all of your problems are solved.’ And that never came.” In the summer of 2018 Ryan Zurrer was in Zurich, Switzerland with a mighty large check burning a hole in his wallet. He’d been active in crypto for several years by then, had wanted to work for the DAO in 2016, and went on to join Polychain Capital, one of the most volatile, and successful, early digital asset hedge funds.
/jlne.ws/3gibgWg

****** Matt Leising is opening his kimono today.~JJL

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Alphabet Stock Split Aimed at Bringing Google Shares to Masses
Jeran Wittenstein and Vivianne Rodrigues – Bloomberg
Alphabet Inc. is bringing big stock splits back to the market, so prospective buyers won’t need upwards of $3,000 to own a share. Taking down the price achieves something else for the Google parent: making it possible to put America’s third-biggest company into its most venerated stock average.
/jlne.ws/3L09p6p

***** $137 dollars a share is not a price for the masses, but it is better than 20X at $2,740.~JJL

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Nanos by Cboe, the Smaller and Simpler Option, Planned for Launch on March 14
Cboe Global Markets, Inc.
Designed to make options trading more accessible for investors;1/100th the size of Mini-S&P 500 Index options contract; One-multiplier, cash-settled (no delivery of physical shares) and European-style (no early exercise)
Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (Cboe: CBOE), a leading provider of global market infrastructure and tradable products, today announced it plans to launch trading in Nanos by Cboe beginning Monday, March 14, subject to regulatory approvals. At a fraction of the size of a standard options contract, Nanos is a first of its kind, one-multiplier, cash-settled listed options contract that will help provide greater access to options trading. The new contracts will be listed exclusively on the Cboe Options Exchange.
/jlne.ws/3sb0A0X

***** Smaller, simpler, faster, better, easier, and just plain fun to trade!~JJL

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Bitcoin Halving Will Stir Next Crypto Frenzy, Thai Exchange Says
Randy Thanthong-Knight and Anuchit Nguyen -Bloomberg
Another pronounced bull run for Bitcoin is coming in 2024 when the world’s largest cryptocurrency goes through another halving, according to Thailand’s largest digital-asset exchange. Halving occurs every four years, slowing the rate at which new tokens are created. Some argue it leads to Bitcoin price gains, a topic of much debate.
/jlne.ws/3GxY8XL

***** You mean bitcoin might go all micro/nano too?~JJL

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BITCOIN FIRST; Why Investors Need to Consider Bitcoin Separately From Other Digital Assets
Chris Kuiper and Jack Neureuter – Fidelity Digital Assets
Once investors have decided to invest in digital assets, the next question becomes, “Which one?” Of course, bitcoin is the most recognized, first-ever digital asset, but there are hundreds and even thousands of other digital assets in the ecosystem. One of the first concerns investors have regarding bitcoin is as the first digital asset it may be vulnerable to innovative destruction from competitors (such as the story of MySpace and Facebook). Another common consideration surrounding bitcoin is whether it offers the same potential reward or upside as some of the newer and smaller digital assets that have emerged.
/jlne.ws/3oe0yEv

***** I remember when Fidelity was stodgy.~JJL

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Still Feeling Pandemic Miserable? There Are Ways to Dig Out; That exhaustion you are feeling is resilience fatigue. Here’s how to handle it.
Alex Janin – WSJ
Many of us are hitting a new stage of pandemic slog in February. Twenty-four percent of Americans reported they were “not too happy” in life in 2021, up from 13% in 2018, according to the General Social Survey, a sociological survey conducted by research organization NORC at the University of Chicago. The share of those who said they were “very happy” declined to 19% from 31% over the same period. The unhappiness people feel now is different from the unhappiness of the early days of Covid-19, psychologists say.
/jlne.ws/3AQvX51

****** Nice headline for a day when many people are having to “dig out” of a huge snow storm across the U.S. Yes, I am fatigued, by SNOW!~JJL

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Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top story Tuesday was a tie between JLN’s Huge Growth In Options Trading Comes To Institutions by Sarah Rudolph and What We Can Learn From How the 1918 Pandemic Ended, an opinion piece from John M. Barry in the New York Times. Second was U.S. lawmakers traded an estimated $355 million of stock last year. These were the biggest buyers and sellers, from MarketWatch. And third was the animated video on LinkedIn from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) celebrating the Year of theTiger.

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MarketsWiki Stats
26,702 pages; 237,206 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics

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Lead Stories

Ripple’s Legal Brawl With SEC Could Help Settle When Cryptocurrencies Are Securities; An SEC win would boost its case to regulate much of the crypto market, while a loss would reinforce calls for clearer laws
Dave Michaels – WSJ
The booming cryptocurrency sector’s complaints that Washington has gone too far in cracking down on its unregulated products are getting tested in a key lawsuit targeting Ripple Labs Inc. and its digital coin, XRP. The lawsuit, which the Securities and Exchange Commission filed in the waning days of the Trump administration, faces several hurdles in the coming months. A Manhattan federal judge has been asked to decide, for instance, whether Ripple can argue regulators should have clearly announced which digital assets they oversee, rather than using enforcement actions to bring the industry to heel.
/jlne.ws/3HnU1P6

Payments to U.S. Brokers Surged Amid Meme-Stock and Options Boom; Earnings from selling their customers’ order flow to electronic trading firms rose 33% last year
Alexander Osipovich – WSJ
Brokerages serving individual investors received a windfall last year for selling their customers’ order flow to electronic trading firms, even as the practice faced increasing scrutiny from regulators. The dozen largest U.S. brokerages earned a combined $3.8 billion for selling their customers’ stock and options orders last year, up 33% from 2020, according to new data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence and released Tuesday.
/jlne.ws/3IU1OEE

The GameStop Frenzy Proved Everyday Traders Can Beat Wall Street, Right? Not According to This Expert
Mallika Mitra – Money.com
The GameStop trading frenzy was when everyday investors teamed up to beat the pros at their own game, right? Wrong — in fact, the whole saga was actually a real money maker for Wall Street. That’s according to Spencer Jakab, author of the new book “The Revolution That Wasn’t: GameStop, Reddit, and the Fleecing of Small Investors” and editor of The Wall Street Journal’s “Heard on the Street” column.
/jlne.ws/34yiRgM

Crypto Bros Saved Luxury from ‘Common Prosperity’; Young Americans flush with stock market and cryptocurrency gains boosted sales of high-end goods. 2022 will be trickier.
Andrea Felsted – Bloomberg
Chinese consumers have passed the bling baton to American shoppers. Flush from soaring stock markets and surging cryptocurrencies, the U.S. was the surprise leader of the luxury sector last year, as people splashed out on everything from Cartier jewelry to Christian Dior handbags. Although China is still linked to the fortunes of the industry, Covid outbreaks and Xi Jinping’s “common prosperity” agenda have curbed the country’s fierce appetite for high-end goods. Fortunately for Big Luxury, American spenders came to their rescue.
/jlne.ws/3gjSjSM

South African Crypto Traders Warned Against Using Exchange FTX
Loni Prinsloo and Adelaide Changole – Bloomberg
Financial regulator issues notices on dealing with FTX, ByBit; State plans to introduce crypto regulatory framework this year
South Africa’s financial regulator said traders should be “cautious and vigilant” when using FTX Trading Ltd., one of the world’s fastest-growing crypto exchanges. The Financial Sector Conduct Authority on Wednesday issued two notices warning against dealing with Bahamas-headquartered FTX and Seychelles-based ByBit. It said the companies are not authorized to give financial advice or intermediary services in South Africa. ByBit has been offering South Africans access to its online platform to trade in derivative instruments and FTX might be doing the same, the regulator said in a statement. For FTX to offer contracts for difference or CFD trading in South Africa, “it must be licensed to do so by the regulator,” the FSCA said.
/jlne.ws/32QGhNG

Bonuses Rain on Wall Street Bankers in Biggest Payout in Decade; Eight-digit pay packages multiply in a long-awaited bonanza for a generation of executives
Sridhar Natarajan and Hannah Levitt – Bloomberg
Ten million dollars, $15 million, $25 million, more: Big money is back on Wall Street. Not since the late 2000s, when lavish bonuses rained down before and after federal bailouts, have pay packages at U.S. investment banks swelled as much as they have right now.
/jlne.ws/3s5AnRs

Marex acquires Arfinco S.A.
Marex
Marex has today announced the completion of the acquisition of Arfinco S.A., one of Europe’s leading agricultural brokers. Arfinco is one of the largest brokers of exchange-traded European grains, as well as covering US and Canadian markets. The company provides trade execution services for commodities futures and options across Euronext, CME CBOT and ICE markets.
/jlne.ws/3467M6L

Marketaxess Announces Chief Information Officer Succession; Nash Panchal, Formerly Of Goldman Sachs, To Succeed Nick Themelis As CIO
MarketAxess Holdings Inc.
MarketAxess Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: MKTX), the operator of a leading electronic trading platform for fixed-income securities, and the provider of market data and post-trade services for the global fixed-income markets, today announced that Nash Panchal will succeed Nick Themelis as MarketAxess’ Chief Information Officer. MarketAxess previously announced Mr. Themelis’ retirement from MarketAxess, effective February 28, 2022, after 16 years as the company’s Chief Information Officer.

SEC’s Lone Republican Warns of Threat to Crypto DeFi Platforms in New Agency Plan
Allyson Versprille – Bloomberg
The lone Republican on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is warning a recent proposal that would add oversight to systems for trading government securities could also give officials sweeping new powers to scrutinize digital-asset platforms. Hester Peirce, who favors a light-touch approach for virtual currencies, says that despite not mentioning crypto once, a 654-page plan released last week by the SEC may threaten the industry’s decentralized finance trading platforms. Peirce opposed putting the regulation out for public comment, while the commission’s three Democrats, including Chair Gary Gensler, voted to do so.
/jlne.ws/3IUhis9

What the Stock Split by Google’s Parent, Alphabet, Means; Alphabet announced plans for a 20-for-1 stock split as part of the technology company’s quarterly earnings statement
Michael Wursthorn – WSJ
Google parent Alphabet Inc. GOOG 1.61% said on Feb. 1 that it will enact a 20-for-1 stock split, giving shareholders 19 more shares for every one they own. Stock splits had fallen out of favor over the last two decades. But since the pandemic Apple Inc., Tesla Inc. and now Alphabet have revived the practice in an effort to make their shares more affordable for individual investors.
/jlne.ws/34qv7ja

What Is a Stock Split and How Can It Affect Your Portfolio? The ins and outs of stock splits, which don’t happen as often as they did in the past
Michael Wursthorn – WSJ
Google parent Alphabet Inc. GOOG 1.61% announced Tuesday that it would split its stock 20-for-1. Stock splits change the stock price and not much else, but they can be confusing anyway. Stock splits rarely happen these days. Once nearly a given when shares topped $100 or so, stock splits have all but disappeared from the corporate playbook. Stock splits by companies in the S&P 500 faded from prominence after the dot-com bust in 2000, while those by companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average are even less frequent.
/jlne.ws/3L7oF1A

EXCLUSIVE U.S. SEC suspended internal watchdog for 7 days after misconduct finding-records
Chris Prentice and Sarah N. Lynch – Reuters
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suspended its inspector general Carl Hoecker for seven days without pay in 2020, despite an independent government committee recommending that the agency consider firing him for “serious misconduct,” according to government records obtained by Reuters.
/jlne.ws/3gekzGF

Bill Gates Invests in Carbon Capture Startup After Tech Breakthrough; An MIT spinoff has developed a new material that aims to make sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere more efficient
Akshat Rathi – Bloomberg
A Massachusetts-based startup that captures carbon dioxide directly from the air has raised $80 million from investors, including Bill Gates-led Breakthrough Energy Ventures. Founded in 2019, Verdox Inc.’s technology is still only operable at lab scale. But Chief Executive Officer Brian Baynes says that a recent breakthrough with the key material used to trap the greenhouse gas has given investors confidence to invest such a large sum at an early stage in the startup’s development.
/jlne.ws/3ggOs95

A year on, GameStop champion Roaring Kitty is quiet – yet much richer
Michelle Price – Reuters
A year ago, office worker Keith Gill shot to global notoriety when his “Roaring Kitty” YouTube persona stoked a trading frenzy with bullish bets that propelled shares of retailer GameStop to eye-popping gains and saddled hedge funds that had bet against the stock with billions of dollars in losses.
/jlne.ws/34vnrfp

Google CEO Weighs In on Web3, Says He’s ‘Looking at Blockchain’
Mark Bergen – Bloomberg
Alphabet Inc. Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai made his first public comments on web3, saying he is watching the blockchain space and looking at how Google’s parent company can add value to development of the technology that’s being embraced by many of his Silicon Valley peers.
/jlne.ws/3Huct8U

Coronavirus

MicroStrategy Posts a Loss After Taking Bitcoin Impairment Charge
Crystal Kim and Tom Contiliano – Bloomberg
Bitcoin fourth-quarter impairment ballooned to $146.6 million; Software maker announced additional purchases earlier Tuesday
MicroStrategy Inc. posted a fourth-quarter loss after taking a $146.6 million impairment charge to write down the value of its Bitcoin holdings. The enterprise software-maker run by Michael Saylor, which has made holding Bitcoin on its balance sheet as part of its business strategy, took the writedown after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said in January that it couldn’t strip out Bitcoin’s wild price swings from the unofficial accounting measures it had touted to investors. While Bitcoin gained 6.7% in the quarter, it closed about 32% off the record high reached in early November.
/jlne.ws/3Gj78zx

As Omicron Shows Signs of Peaking in Europe, France Eases Restrictions; Covid-19 cases in Germany continue to break records daily, but have been falling in the states with the highest incidences
Nick Kostov, Bertrand Benoit – WSJ
France allowed workers to return to offices full time Wednesday amid signs the Omicron wave of Covid-19 is approaching its peak in Europe. In the U.S., the number of infections has been in decline for weeks, helping to ease pressure on hospitals. Deaths, however, have been rising, with the seven-day average of new daily deaths reaching 2,439 on Monday.
/jlne.ws/3olYIkT

U.S. considers authorization of first COVID vaccine for children under 5
Michael Erman – Reuters
U.S. regulators are considering the first COVID-19 vaccine for children under the age of 5, the only age group not yet eligible for the shots, after Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and BioNTech SE began the regulatory approval process on Tuesday.
/jlne.ws/3IXUec5

Europe Accelerates Move to Pandemic Exit as Risk Alert Fades
Kati Pohjanpalo, Chiara Albanese, and Corinne Gretler – Bloomberg
Italy, Switzerland, Finland join in on the rush to ease curbs; Germany, Belgium are outliers in the continent-wide trend
Europe is accelerating steps to roll back coronavirus restrictions as efforts to control the fast-spreading omicron variant have been largely futile. Under pressure from a pandemic-weary public, politicians across the region are deeming many public-health measures increasingly unnecessary. Italy, Switzerland and Finland are set to join Denmark, Ireland and France in easing the bulk of restrictions on public life. Norway also relaxed most rules.
/jlne.ws/34wgOK5

Covid Pandemic Hits Particularly Hard for Those With Long-Term Disabilities
Press Association via Bloomberg
Around one in five disabled people believe life will never return to normal following the coronavirus pandemic, a survey suggests. Some 18% of those questioned by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said they do not think life will ever get back to normal.
/jlne.ws/3ARwbss

What We Know About Fast-Spreading Omicron Subvariant BA.2; The omicron variant has a faster-spreading subvariant that is becoming dominant in Denmark and increasing in the U.K.
Therese Raphael and Sam Fazeli – Bloomberg
Viruses mutate. So it came as little surprise that the fast-spreading omicron variant (known as BA.1) has a faster-spreading subvariant, BA.2. The latter is becoming dominant in Denmark, increasing in the U.K. and quickly spreading elsewhere. New studies show that getting a mild omicron infection may not give a robust enough immune response to protect against another omicron infection, of either BA.1 or BA.2.
/jlne.ws/3IU6g6k

Free Covid Tests Provide Latest Venue for Suspected Fraudsters
Jeff Stone – Bloomberg
New U.S. websites triggered a rash of similar domain names; Critical thinking goes ‘out the window’ when people see Covid
As a new government website went live in January to offer free Covid-19 test kits, a rash of new domain names were registered. Some had remarkably similar URLs, or were nearly the same but slightly misspelled.
/jlne.ws/3se1OZk

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

CME Group Reports January 2022 Monthly Market Statistics
CME Group
Overall ADV increased 28% year-over-year; Equity Index ADV grew 56%, driven by record Micro E-mini Equity futures ; Record SOFR futures and options ADV and OI
CME Group, the world’s leading derivatives marketplace, today reported its January 2022 market statistics, showing average daily volume (ADV) increased 28% to 24.6 million contracts during the month. Market statistics are available in greater detail at https://cmegroupinc.gcs-web.com/monthly-volume.
/jlne.ws/34eSX1v

CME Ether Futures: How Is the Contract Designed?
Abe Chernin, Nicole M. Moran of Cornerstone Research via National Law Review
Following in the wake of the CME’s Bitcoin futures launched in December 2017, the CME’s exchange-traded Ether futures went live earlier this year and are gaining popularity. The Ether products take the form of futures contracts and share many similarities with the Bitcoin futures products also listed by CME.
/jlne.ws/3Hn3bLK

Azerion lists on Euronext Amsterdam
Euronext
Listed through a business combination transaction with EFIC1; 1st SPAC merger on Euronext markets in 2022, following the record-breaking number of SPAC listings in 2021
Euronext today congratulates Azerion, a digital entertainment and media company, on its listing on Euronext Amsterdam (ticker code: AZRN).
/jlne.ws/3ueGt4K

Equity Index Derivatives: Tradability of Eurex Daily Futures on KOSPI 200 Futures and Mini-Futures for Participants in the U.S.
Eurex
With effect from 7 February 2022, Eurex Participants and investors domiciled in the U.S. will have the following additional products available for trading:
/jlne.ws/3Ho2qlC

The Spanish stock market trades 32 billion euros in January, up 15.3%; MONTHLY TRADING STATEMENTS FOR BME’S MARKETS
BME-X
The number of Equity trades is up 16.3% from the previous month; New issues the Fixed Income markets in January increased by 128.1%; The Financial Derivatives market traded 1.5 million contracts
The Spanish stock exchange traded 32 billion euros in Equities in January, up 15.3% from the previous month and up 3.1% from the same month in 2021. The number of trades was 3.68 million, 16.3% higher than in December and 15.9% lower than in January last year.
/jlne.ws/3gvTsXP

DGCX begins 2022 with total trades valued at USD 7.95 billion in January
DGCX
Dubai, UAE, 02 February 2022: Against the global backdrop of soaring inflation, a potential rise in interest rates, as well as high crude oil prices, the Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX) registered a monthly Average Open Interest (AOI) of 128,828 contracts during January – as well as traded a total value of USD 7.95 billion during the month – as members looked to further manage their risk.
/jlne.ws/3Gtb69a

Fintech

BestEx Research Expands Futures Offering Abroad, Adds Crypto
Katherine Doherty – Bloomberg
BestEx Research Group LLC, the trading platform driven by algorithms, added new exchanges and cryptocurrency to expand in the futures markets and asset classes. The firm’s futures-trading platform now includes exchanges in Europe and the Asia Pacific regions: Eurex and Euronext, as well as Singapore Exchange and Australian Securities Exchange, executives said Tuesday. It also added access to crypto futures products traded on CME.
/jlne.ws/3L4Pcwc

BestEx expands futures trading into Europe and Asia-Pacific with Eurex, Euronext, Singapore Exchange and Australian Securities Exchange; The extension is the first time that BestEx will offer futures trading outside of the US in light of growing demand for its algo trading platform.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Execution algorithm provider BestEx Research has expanded its futures trading offering with user access to Eurex, Euronext, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and the Singapore Exchange (SGX).
/jlne.ws/3s9C9B8

Money-Transfer Firm Zepz Said to Seek $6 Billion Value in IPO
Swetha Gopinath and Dinesh Nair – Bloomberg
Zepz is considering seeking an initial public offering in the U.S. at a valuation of about $6 billion, a potential blow to U.K. attempts to attract more tech listings, according to people familiar with the matter.
/jlne.ws/3uov6am

Banker Linked to Kyrgyz Fraud Emerges With Alias at U.K. Fintech
Donal Griffin – Bloomberg
Michael Strogonov, who registered Dzing, is also Mikhail Nadel; Nadel was convicted in absentia amid Kyrgyz bank collapse
When Michael Strogonov helped set up a payments company in Britain, few could have guessed his troubled past. Strogonov, 53, who described himself in corporate filings as a Russian based in Italy, didn’t appear to hold any other directorships, U.K. company records show. The business he incorporated in 2018 — Dzing Finance Ltd. — was just one of hundreds of firms that have been authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority to process payments and hold client funds.
/jlne.ws/3uAmDRN

Google Is Searching for a Way to Win the Cloud; Trailing far behind its biggest rivals, the company is undergoing a multiyear effort to improve the reliability of its infrastructure.
Nico Grant – Bloomberg
When Amazon’s cloud computing network went down on Dec. 7, it hampered a broad swath of companies that rely on its servers, including Disney, Netflix, and Ticketmaster. The rare company with reason to welcome the widespread disruptions caused by Amazon Web Services’ worst outage in more than a year? Google.
/jlne.ws/3uj8vMp

MarketAxess appoints former Goldman Sachs executive as new CIO; Incoming CIO will succeed Nick Themelis who will retire from MarketAxess after serving in the position for the past 16 years.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Electronic trading platform MarketAxess has appointed former Goldman Sachs executive, Nash Panchal, to succeed Nick Themelis as the company’s chief information officer. Themelis retires from MarketAxess effective 28 February, after serving as the company’s chief information officer for 16 years.
/jlne.ws/3gjVsly

Chatbot Startup Gupshup Buys Knowlarity in $100 Million Deal
Saritha Rai – Bloomberg
San Francisco-based startup adds messaging, video capabilities; Company sees automated contact center market expanding
Chatbot developer Gupshup Inc. said it is acquiring cloud communications startup Knowlarity Communications Pvt. to bolster its voice messaging and video solutions capabilities. The purchase price is about $100 million, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named as the value isn’t public. Knowlarity specializes in cloud telephony as well as contact center automation and uses artificial intelligence to power its voice assistants, Gupshup said in a statement Wednesday, without disclosing how much it paid.
/jlne.ws/34sn5GG

Cybersecurity

The Rise Of Cybersecurity Standards For Modern Software
Chris Wysopal – Forbes
The onslaught of cyberattacks in the U.S., such as the Colonial Pipeline and Microsoft hacks, demonstrates the systemic problem society faces as weaknesses in the digital world persist and increasingly impact the daily lives of society members. The issues that led to these attacks are not new, meaning the challenge the industry faces is how to act on them so that security practices keep up with technology advancements. It is all about addressing the supply chain of vulnerabilities coming through software integral to everyone’s daily lives.
/jlne.ws/3gz6vI1

Integrating New Vulnerability Management Capabilities Into A Comprehensive Cybersecurity Strategy
Trishneet Arora – Forbes
Full-cycle vulnerability management (FCVM) is a set of cybersecurity capabilities that helps organizations better manage their IT infrastructure as well as rapidly identify and prioritize risks emanating from a wide range of internet-based applications, servers and other infrastructure — both those they are aware of and those they are not.
FCVM should be one component of an organization’s comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. It overlaps with other capabilities such as digital risk protection services (DRPS) and other concepts like Gartner, Inc.’s relatively new external attack surface management (EASM).
/jlne.ws/3gifU6v

Blockchains: Use Cases In Cybersecurity
Satish Mohan – Forbes
Blockchains are distributed databases that store the data among nodes on a network and guarantee the fidelity and security of data stored on the chain. They are typically used in cases where the data has to be trusted without the need for third-party verification. Blockchains serve as the underlying infrastructure for cryptocurrencies, which have surged in adoption and popularity in recent years.
/jlne.ws/3GsYajC

KKR explores sale or IPO of cybersecurity consultant Optiv -sources
Krystal Hu and Chibuike Oguh – Reuters
Buyout firm KKR & Co Inc (KKR.N) is exploring a sale or an initial public offering for Optiv Security Inc, a U.S. cybersecurity solutions distributor and consultant it controls at a valuation of more than $3 billion, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.
/jlne.ws/3riSt3h

FBI warns athletes of possible cybersecurity risk during Beijing Olympics : NPR
Sharon Pruitt-Young – NPR
Athletes on their way to the 2022 Winter Olympics have a new item to add to their packing list: a burner phone.
In a warning issued Monday, the FBI advised athletes traveling to Beijing this month, as well as those competing in the Paralympics in March, to bring a temporary cellphone with them in lieu of their regular device in preparation for the risk of cyberattacks. Such attacks could include ransomware and malware, data theft, and distributed denial of service attacks, among others, according to the bureau.
/jlne.ws/3GnGQMO

European Fuel Terminals Halted by ‘IT Issues’ Amid German Hack
Jack Wittels – Bloomberg
Multiple fuel terminals in Europe’s oil-trading hub have been forced to halt operations because of ‘IT issues’, according to a broker. “Numerous terminals in ARA have been impacted by IT issues,” Riverlake, which organizes barge shipments, said in a note. ARA stands for Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp — the nerve center of Europe’s oil and fuel-trading network. “The waiting queue is still building up since Sunday, with currently no prospects when the operations can resume”
/jlne.ws/3Gkber9

Cryptocurrencies

MicroStrategy Posts a Loss After Taking Bitcoin Impairment Charge
Crystal Kim and Tom Contiliano – Bloomberg
Bitcoin fourth-quarter impairment ballooned to $146.6 million; Software maker announced additional purchases earlier Tuesday
MicroStrategy Inc. posted a fourth-quarter loss after taking a $146.6 million impairment charge to write down the value of its Bitcoin holdings. The enterprise software-maker run by Michael Saylor, which has made holding Bitcoin on its balance sheet as part of its business strategy, took the writedown after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said in January that it couldn’t strip out Bitcoin’s wild price swings from the unofficial accounting measures it had touted to investors. While Bitcoin gained 6.7% in the quarter, it closed about 32% off the record high reached in early November.
/jlne.ws/3Gj78zx

Intuit CEO Warns of Tax Bill Shock for Bitcoin, NFT Traders
Joe Williams – Bloomberg
Intuit Inc. Chief Executive Officer Sasan Goodarzi warned that Americans who invested in speculative assets like Bitcoin or nonfungible tokens, and actively traded equities on commission-free websites could be dumbfounded at this year’s tax bill.
/jlne.ws/3s8AE6e

NFT Marketplace OpenSea Refunds Users $1.8 Million After Buyers Exploit Loophole for Massive Profit
Ya?l Bizouati-Kennedy – GoBankingRates
OpenSea, one of the leading NFT marketplaces, has suffered a so-called exploit — the described exploit enabling users to purchase NFTs from users at well below market value. NFTs with a market value of $1.1 million were purchased in this way in late January, according to a report by Elliptic. Now, OpenSea has refunded about $1.8 million to users who suffered investment losses after confusion about a feature on the platform caused investors to unwittingly sell valuable NFTs far below market prices, according to Bloomberg.
/jlne.ws/3uotNIu

Non-US XRP Investors Target the SEC With Conflict of Interest Claim
Bob Mason – FX Empire
It’s been a rocky road for Ripple Labs, two of its executives, and XRP. Back in 2020, the U.S SEC filed a lawsuit alleging that Ripple Labs and two executives raised more than $1.3bn through an unregistered and ongoing digital asset securities offering.
/jlne.ws/3gfiI4g

Another Crypto Firm Seeks to Go Public. Aurox Weighs Its Options.
Luisa Beltran – Barron’s
Aurox is looking to be the latest crypto firm to tap the public equity markets. Aurox said Tuesday that it planned to list its shares this year and was considering several options. This includes a traditional initial public offering, a direct listing of its shares, as well as merging with an existing public company, including a special purpose acquisition company.
/jlne.ws/35IWwgZ

Coachella jumps into NFT trend, teams up with FTX for concert passes
Jennifer Schonberger – Yahoo Finance
Music festival Coachella and cryptocurrency exchange FTX are teaming up to offer ten lifetime festival guest passes as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), underscoring how the music industry is using digital collectibles to enhance the concert going experience, while offering a glimpse into the future of live events.
/jlne.ws/3HoTfBs

Drew Brees to Get Paid in Bitcoin via NYDIG’s BTC Savings Plan; Brees will take part of his salary in Bitcoin and offer the option to his employees as well.
Kate Irwin – decrypt.co
Retired NFL quarterback-turned-entrepreneur Drew Brees has elected to take part of his salary in Bitcoin through NYDIG’s new Bitcoin Savings Plan. Brees, who currently works as an analyst for NBC Sports, is the latest among a growing list of pro athletes to accept salaries in Bitcoin, signaling a boost in interest in BTC as both a usable currency and long-term investment among celebrity figures.
/jlne.ws/3sf1fPb

Do I owe tax on my cryptocurrency portfolio? I benefited from post-lockdown price rises and have a fairly high-value portfolio
Lucy Warwick-Ching – FT
I jumped on the cryptocurrency bandwagon early on for a bit of fun and without particularly high hopes. I have benefited from a price rise post-lockdown and now have a fairly high-value portfolio. I’ve used my holdings to fund some one-off purchases and exchanged between currencies. I recently received a letter from HM Revenue & Customs claiming that I may owe tax. I’m worried I’ve done something wrong. If I have never cashed in my portfolio, am I still liable for capital gains tax on the potential sterling profit on my original investment?
/jlne.ws/3GnGCVY

Gemini Launches Full Service Crypto Prime Brokerage
MarketsMedia
Gemini, the regulated crypto exchange and custodian, is launching a full service prime brokerage for crypto assets as institutional interest in the sector grows.
In January 2022 Gemini announced the acquisition of Omniex, a trading technology platform that provides order, execution, and portfolio management system solutions for institutional crypto trading. Gemini said the integration of Omniex with it’s existing crypto custody, clearing, and over-the-counter trading capabilities will enable the public launch of Gemini Prime in the second quarter of 2022 after supporting a select client base over the past year.
/bit.ly/3ojUY3f

Japan’s $1 Trillion Crypto Market May Ease Onerous Listing Rules
Takashi Nakamichi – Bloomberg
Exchanges would be able to list over a dozen coins in one go; Existing system makes it hard for entrants to get market share
The body that governs Japan’s almost $1 trillion market for cryptocurrency trading is considering making it easier to list digital tokens, people with knowledge of the matter said, a potential boost for newcomers like Coinbase Global Inc.
/jlne.ws/3gfNie3

India Says Crypto Not Illegal as It’s Taxed Like Gambling Win
Vrishti Beniwal – Bloomberg
Finance Secretary says crypto transactions are in a grey area; Government will tax virtual assets at the highest rate
The Indian government said it doesn’t treat trading in crypto assets as illegal, a day after it announced taxing such transactions just the same as winnings from gambling. “They are in a grey area. It’s not illegal to buy and sell crypto,” Finance Secretary T. V. Somanathan said in an interview to Bloomberg Television. “We have now put in a taxation framework that treats crypto assets the same way we treat winnings from horse races, or from bets and other speculative transactions.”
/jlne.ws/3AQ5ioW

ConsenSys Acquires MyCrypto to Strengthen MetaMask Partnership and Enhance Web3 Experiences
ConsenSys
ConsenSys Aquires MyCrypto to Team Up With MetaMask
Today, ConsenSys announced the acquisition of MyCrypto, a deep-rooted Ethereum interface, to team up with the market-leading Web3 wallet, MetaMask. MetaMask and MyCrypto will be combining their efforts under a shared banner to further improve the security of all the products and create a cohesive user experience across desktop, mobile, extension, and browser wallets.
/jlne.ws/3ARDe4i

Politics

UBS Says InveRussia Confronts Ukraine With Upgraded Military Rebuilt After Soviet Collapse; Vladimir Putin has largely transformed the country’s forces left depleted and demoralized after the breakup of the U.S.S.R. Ann M. Simmons – WSJ
When the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, an elite military supplier once called Design Bureau No. 52, known for making intercontinental ballistic missiles, fell on hard times. Military spending had dropped so sharply that the company was forced to make civilian products such as railway timetable boards.
/jlne.ws/3KZI709

Investors Should Hedge Against the Risk of Russia-Ukraine Escalation
Joe Easton – Bloomberg
Investors should hedge against an escalation of Russia-Ukraine tensions, according to UBS AG strategists, who warned that global markets are yet to price in such an outcome.. While Russian assets like the ruble and MOEX stock index have been “hit hard,” recent declines in global risk assets have been driven by concerns around central bank policy tightening rather than concerns over a conflict or heavy sanctions, strategists including Bhanu Baweja wrote in a note.
/jlne.ws/3GmMQoO

Russia Tensions Prompt Austrian Bank to Stash Fallout Funds
Nicholas Comfort and Marton Eder – Bloomberg
Raiffeisen: 9% of Russia exposure faces higher sanctions risk; Russia, Ukraine units are in ‘good shape,’ CEO Strobl says
Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International AG became the first large European lender to say that it’s setting aside money to deal with the potential fallout from tensions related to Russia and the military escalation near Ukraine.
/jlne.ws/3gg1sM7

A Journey Across Ukraine Shows Invasion Would Come at High Price
Marc Champion – Bloomberg
About a mile from a border post that marks the last Ukrainian controlled territory before Crimea, soldiers suddenly emerge from the long sea grass to check on an idling car. Their concern over who comes and goes is no surprise. Should Russia decide to invade Ukraine as feared by the U.S., tanks and infantry would likely pour across this narrow causeway connecting the peninsula to the wide open steppe of southern Ukraine in numbers Europe hasn’t seen since 1945.
/jlne.ws/3ATpxSL

Europe Faces Harsh Reality of Finding Russian Gas Irreplaceable
Anna Shiryaevskaya and Isis Almeida – Bloomberg
Energy-rich countries from Qatar to Azerbaijan have all pledged emergency gas supplies to Europe, but the region is quickly figuring out it can’t replace top supplier Russia.
/jlne.ws/3ARqivm

A crypto breakthrough? Western states consider taking digital currency
Ben Schreckinger – Bloomberg
The dreams of crypto enthusiasts inched closer to reality in recent days as lawmakers in Wyoming and Arizona put forward proposals that would allow those states to accept tax payments in the form of digital currencies. The new proposals, and others like them around the United States, threaten to erode a key distinction upholding the supremacy of the U.S. dollar over its would-be digital competitors: Americans can use U.S. dollars, but not cryptocurrencies, to pay their taxes.
/jlne.ws/3L3E5DR

The U.S. Senate Will Discuss Stablecoins on February 15
Ricardo Rivas – FX Empire
Regulation is a term that is really important to new financial assets like cryptocurrencies. As global crypto adoption continues, countries are finding ways to add clarity to them. Digital assets, including stablecoins like Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC), have been lately on the radar in US government entities like the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; and the U.S House Committee on Financial Services.
/jlne.ws/3AZ8Ll1

Regulation

Rajiv Patel Dead After CFTC Exposes $9.8 Million Fraud
Rick Steves – Finance Fees
His unprofitable trading resulted in significant losses of the pool participants’ funds, but Patel falsely reported to pool participants that their investments were accruing interest. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida entered a restraining order to preserve records and freeze assets controlled by defendants Rajiv Patel also known as Ravi or Raj, and his company Bluprint, following a complaint filed by the CFTC.
/jlne.ws/3rhQhZS

Opinion: The SEC is illogical in its continued refusal to OK a bitcoin ETF
Jennifer J. Schulp – Bloomberg
To those waiting on the Securities and Exchange Commission to approve a bitcoin exchange-traded fund, it feels a bit like the classic 1993 movie “Groundhog Day.” Instead of Bill Murray waking up destined to relive the same day no matter what changes he makes, proponents of a bitcoin ETF keep receiving SEC denials of the investment product, no matter what has changed. Whatever merits the SEC’s rationale initially had, the commission’s recent acceptance of bitcoin futures ETFs puts it long past time to approve a bitcoin ETF.
/jlne.ws/3sbzPtc

Lori H. Price Named Acting Director of the Office of Credit Ratings; Ahmed Abonamah to Leave SEC
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Lori H. Price will serve as Acting Director of the Office of Credit Ratings (OCR). Ms. Price replaces Ahmed A. Abonamah, who is leaving the agency at the beginning of February to serve as Chief Financial Officer for the City of Cleveland.
/jlne.ws/3L42XeI

SEC Files Fraud Charges Alleging a Multimillion Dollar Scheme that Targeted Retirement Accounts
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against Safeguard Metals LLC, and its owner, Jeffrey Santulan, for engaging in a multimillion dollar fraudulent scheme involving hundreds of investors who were at or near retirement age. According to the SEC’s complaint, from December 2017 through at least July 2021, Safeguard and Santulan acted as investment advisers and persuaded investors to sell their existing securities, transfer the proceeds into self-directed Individual Retirement Accounts, and invest the proceeds into gold and silver coins by making false and misleading statements about the safety and liquidity of the investors’ securities investments, Safeguard’s business, and its compensation.
/jlne.ws/3s7mySF

ESMA publishes supervisory briefing on the use of tied agents under MiFID II
ESMA
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, today publishes a Supervisory Briefing to ensure convergence across the European Union (EU) in the supervision of firms using tied agents, in particular those based outside the EU.
/jlne.ws/3uArQsP

FINRA Announces Rule 4111 (Restricted Firm Obligations) Evaluation Date
FINRA
FINRA Rule 4111 (Restricted Firm Obligations) became effective on January 1, 2022. This Notice announces that the first “Evaluation Date” for Rule 4111 will be June 1, 2022.
/jlne.ws/34vr1GE

The CFTC and 27 State Securities Regulatory Agencies Charge Los Angeles Area Precious Metals Dealer in Ongoing $68 Million Fraud Targeting the Elderly; CFTC and state securities regulatory agencies again join forces to combat investment fraud
CFTC
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and 27 state securities regulatory agencies that are members of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) announced the filing of a joint civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against a precious metals dealer and its owner for orchestrating a $68 million fraudulent scheme targeting elderly persons nationwide.
/jlne.ws/34uvDfT

Extension of relief from the on-site annual inspection of branch offices and guaranteed IBs
NFA
Due to COVID-19, NFA allowed Members to conduct all calendar year 2020 and 2021 annual inspections of branch offices and guaranteed introducing brokers (IB) remotely (see Notices to Members I-20-35 and I-21-25). NFA is extending the relief provided in Notices I-20-35 and I-21-25 through the end of 2022. Although Members must conduct the required annual inspection of each branch office and guaranteed IB by December 31, 2022, firms may conduct these inspections remotely. A Member that conducts a remote examination in 2022 based on this relief may still conduct a remote examination in 2023 if its risk assessment indicates it is appropriate to do so. This risk assessment should take into account when the firm most recently conducted an on-site exam.
/jlne.ws/3Hr73va

Corporate & Professional Pensions Limited in administration
UK VCA
Corporate & Professional Pensions Limited (Corporate & Professional), is a SIPP operator authorised and regulated by the FCA. On 1 February 2022 the directors appointed Adam Stephens and Nick Myers of Smith & Williamson LLP as joint administrators (administrators). The administrators are qualified insolvency practitioners. We set out the steps Corporate & Professional’s clients should take and advice on how to protect against scams.
/jlne.ws/3rl5Ujf

Investing and Trading

Hedge Funds Are a Job Now; Also stablecoins, PE ESG, sports betting and controlling the yield curve.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
Hedge funds
There is a sense in which the main story of modern hedge funds is style drift. You start out doing convertible arbitrage or merger arb or relative-value structured-credit trades, you make a lot of money, you attract more investors, you gain in confidence at the same time that you reach the limits of your strategy’s capacity, you expand into other strategies, you make more money, you conclude that you are an all-purpose genius, you start going on television, your returns maybe suffer a bit but who cares, and you end up trying to influence national politics and/or mentoring Diddy.
/jlne.ws/3ITixrC

Worst-Ever Outflows for SPY ETF as QQQ Bleeds Most Since Dot-Com
Sam Potter – Bloomberg
The world’s biggest exchange-traded fund posted its worst monthly outflow in its near three-decade history with investors selling the Monday stock rebound en masse. The $407 billion SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, known by its ticker SPY, in January saw its biggest redemption since launching in 1993, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, underscoring weeks of turmoil in U.S. large-cap companies.
/jlne.ws/3riEbPX

Meme stock madness — GameStop and AMC one year later
Devan Burris and Jared Blikre – Yahoo Finance
After a brutal start to the year, meme stocks are enjoying a three-day rally, with AMC Entertainment up 25%. The movie theater operator is up 13% Tuesday — having its best day since December — after announcing preliminary revenue for the fourth quarter that trounced analyst expectations.
/jlne.ws/3oloHZT

Looks Like There’s a Whale Snapping Up Gold Bullion Below $1,800
Eddie van der Walt – Bloomberg
Metal went from $150 discount to a $20 premium to fundamentals; Scale of purchases point strongly toward sovereign buyer
Spot gold is again bobbing along near $1,800 an ounce, as it has been since mid-2020. The stickiness of that level, particularly as fundamentals turned more bearish, suggests there’s a big buyer somewhere in these waters.
/jlne.ws/3stVTQf

Has the Fed ‘put’ been put to bed? Don’t count on the central bank intervening over market volatility
Liz Ann Sonders – FT
Don’t fight the Fed. The saying was popularised by the late Marty Zweig, this author’s first boss and mentor on Wall Street in the 1980s and 1990s. Zweig also coined the phrase: “Don’t fight the tape”.
/jlne.ws/3gjE40k

Put your stockpicking skills to the test; Enter our annual competition and pit your wits against FT journalists
FT reporters
Aspiring stock pickers are likely to find 2022 a challenging year for share price predictions. But turbulent markets can create opportunities for the quick-thinking investor. Why not make some bold calls about which companies will benefit and which will lose out in 2022, by pitting your wits against FT journalists in the next round of our annual stockpicking contest?
/jlne.ws/3L3wd5j

Beating Expectations Isn’t What It Used To Be; The pandemic-rebound mindset is over, and earnings calls are almost a sideshow as the market worries about inflation and rates.
John Authers – Bloomberg
CEOs are in the middle of telling us about how 2021 was for them, and they seem to be scarcely more than a sideshow. The excitement of the year so far in the stock market has been almost entirely driven from the top down, as everyone realizes they need to worry about inflation and rates. In that context, earnings have struggled for attention. But it’s perhaps telling that those earnings have been very respectable so far — and haven’t as yet managed to bring stocks back into the black for the year.
/jlne.ws/3IVdHdt

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Big Oil Relocates to a Different Planet; The cash flows of Exxon and Chevron recall the glory days, but the companies are remaking themselves for a more constrained, lower carbon future.
Liam Denning – Bloomberg
When Exxon announced in 1989 it was leaving midtown Manhattan for new headquarters in the Dallas suburbs, Stanley Grayson, New York’s then deputy mayor for finance and economic development, offered this bon voyage:
/jlne.ws/3rjJajx

Europe’s Carbon Price Surges Above 90 Euros to Record High
Todd Gillespie and Will Mathis – Bloomberg
Carbon buoyed as higher gas price boosts attraction of coal; Key chart level breached as carbon surges over 160% in a year
European Union carbon permit futures rose to a record high on tighter supplies of the pollution rights and as rising natural gas prices added to the appeal of burning dirtier coal for power.
/jlne.ws/3445Vzj

Many Big ESG Funds Are Just Glorified Market Trackers; And some of them perform even worse than the indexes.
Tim Quinson – Bloomberg
In the recent market tumult, the largest ESG-focused exchange-traded funds in the U.S. are again showing that they are little more than market-trackers—with even worse performance.
/jlne.ws/3GljAir

Amundi defends passive approach to ESG after ETF assets soar; French asset manager became the second-biggest provider of ETFs in Europe following Lyxor acquisition
Dom Lawson – FT
Amundi has rejected climate campaigners’ criticism of its Lyxor acquisition, saying there is scope for including environmental, social and governance objectives in passive investing.
/jlne.ws/3Hp0Q2K

Barclays Steers Ultra-Rich Clients Toward New ESG Entrepreneurs
Morwenna Coniam – Bloomberg
Wealthy increasingly looking beyond wind, solar and EVs; Energy storage technologies among areas drawing interest
High net-worth clients at Barclays Plc are being steered toward sustainable investment products that tap into a new class of ESG entrepreneur. Wind, solar and electric vehicles aren’t enough to generate the kinds of returns that Barclays private bank wants to offer its environmental, social and governance investment clients. Instead, “it’s the second order of ideas that are of interest,” said Damian Payiatakis, who leads a team advising individuals, families and charities, as well as private and public market specialists on ethical and sustainable investing.
/jlne.ws/3AUwylX

Europe’s ESG Drive to Push Vice Firms to Raise Money in U.S.
Greg Ritchie – Bloomberg
Deutsche’s Taneja says some sectors being forced out of Europe; EU’s sustainable finance regulations among the most stringent
Europe’s stricter environmental, social and governance rules might be forcing companies in more controversial sectors to look across the Atlantic for funding. That’s according to Trisha Taneja, Deutsche Bank AG’s newly-appointed global head of ESG for origination and advisory. The European Union’s sustainable investing rules are resulting in a broader application of ESG criteria, with asset managers looking to align their portfolios to its so-called taxonomy to ensure investments “do no significant harm.”
/jlne.ws/3L7wl3B

Emerging ESG Bond Boom Puts World on Path to Sell $1.8 Trillion
Sydney Maki – Bloomberg
Sales of emerging ESG debt rocketed by 227% last year: IIF; Financing boom has defied concerns about possible greenwashing
A wave of socially conscious debt has emerged from the developing world, flooding global markets with investments that claim to make the world a better place.
/jlne.ws/34snQ2u

Institutions

UBS Is Well Prepared for Its American Adventure; U.S. market has tripped up many European banks, but the Swiss wealth manager has a strong set of tools to break with the trend
Rochelle Toplensky – WSJ
UBS UBS 9.27% wants to push deeper into the U.S. European banks have a checkered history of trying to crack the American market, but the Swiss wealth manager is better set up for the challenge than most.
/jlne.ws/3APTJ10

Banks Face Surge in Equal Pay Claims After Landmark BNP Ruling
Jonathan Browning – Bloomberg
French bank says it fell short in duty, won’t appeal verdict; Gender pay gap in finance and insurance still at 25%
Stacey Macken fought more than eight years for equal pay. Her victory over BNP Paribas SA this week at a London court may encourage a wave of other women to come forward.
/jlne.ws/3gjVfPj

Goldman Sachs workers back to office Feb. 1 but some exceptions allowed
Lydia Moynihan – NY Post
Goldman Sachs Chief Executive David Solomon has been clear that he thinks working from home is an aberration. But the bank he runs has quietly allowed people to continue to telecommute, On the Money has learned. At the bank’s headquarters at 200 West Street — where thousands of employees were called back to the office Feb. 1 — management is making concessions to some employees who say they are still “Covid conscious,” people familiar with the matter say.
/jlne.ws/3498YWR

Regions

Edinburgh bids for tech glory — again; Scottish AI entrepreneurs dream of resurrecting Silicon Glen and making it last
Brooke Masters – FT
Thirty years ago, Scotland had a burgeoning tech industry. It made three in 10 of Europe’s personal computers, and electronics accounted for 28 per cent of the nation’s exports. But “Silicon Glen” failed to expand much beyond manufacturing, and growth fizzled out in the 2000s.
/jlne.ws/3uj8Gr3

Weather Calms Europe’s Energy Fears as Winter ‘Beast’ Stays Away
Todd Gillespie and Jesper Starn – Bloomberg
Temperatures to ease demand for power and gas across continent; Wind generation picks up as Europe escapes normal winter cold
Mild weather is set to continue across much of Europe this month, soothing energy-market turmoil and mounting tensions over Ukraine. February is forecast to be warmer than normal, reducing gas demand for heating and electricity generation. Northern and Central Europe will be the mildest, with temperatures as much as 3 degrees Celsius higher than usual in parts of Germany, said Eleanor Bell, a meteorologist at The Weather Company.
/jlne.ws/3ARXK4Y

German Gas Grid Deletes Head-Scratching Data on Russian Supplies
Vanessa Dezem – Bloomberg
Germany’s grid operator sowed confusion this morning, posting data showing Russian natural gas was flowing westward again on the key Yamal-Europe pipeline after a halt of 43 days. An hour later, Gascade’s website changed, showing zero flows.
/jlne.ws/3L46VUE

Miscellaneous

When Is Groundhog Day and What Is the Meaning Behind It? If a groundhog sees its shadow, tradition says, six more weeks of winter are predicted; no shadow means an early spring
Punxsutawney Phil, marmot of the moment.
Ginger Adams Otis, Camille Furst – WSJ
The annual practice of using a groundhog or another furry, hibernating animal to predict winter’s end dates to the days of the Roman Empire. In 1887, locals in a little Pennsylvania town called Punxsutawney made a trek to Gobbler’s Knob, a wooded area about 2 miles out of town, filled with burrowing rodents to make the forecast. And with that, the legend of Punxsutawney Phil was born, leading to the U.S.’s first official Groundhog Day.
/jlne.ws/3ASr2jN

The ‘best job in America’ pays $145,000, has 14,000 job openings — and offers a generous work-life balance
Quentin Fottrell – MarketWatch
A six-figure salary and the option to work from home? It sounds too good to be true. Job openings are rising, while workers continue to quit. The number of vacant jobs hit 10.9 million in December, up from 10.6 million the previous month, the Labor Department said this week. The job openings rate was steady at 6.8%.
/jlne.ws/3olmwFI

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